Influencer marketing is a powerful way to generate visibility for your brand. The concept is simple; find an “influencer,” someone in your industry with a large social following and respect within the community, then get them to share your material, engage with you, or otherwise mention your brand. A recommendation could instantly net you some new followers, and set you up for future opportunities (such as interviews and collaborative content) with that influencer.
However, if you’ve ever tried executing this strategy on a whim, you know it’s not that simple. Influencers generally have hundreds of thousands of followers, and getting their attention isn’t easy. So how are people doing it?
There are six secrets to getting an influencer’s attention successfully:
1. Don’t jump into the deep end first. First, you need to stop chasing distractions and bypass the top-level influencers of your industry. When you’re just starting out, you’re unlikely to get attention from these top-shelf influencers because your message is one of hundreds or thousands they see every week. Instead, narrow your focus to one or two influencers at a time, and choose your influencers carefully. Look for influencers with lots of followers, but not so many that they’re unreachable.
2. Get your foot in the door before you ask for any big favors. Don’t rush into a major request for your influencer. Instead, you need to start with some basics of social media networking. Start following your influencer and interact in a helpful, friendly, engaging way. You can start by simply reading what they have to post, watching how they engage with others, and just get to know them. Once you know a bit more about who they are and how they communicate, you’ll learn more about their area of expertise as well as the best way to get a response out of them. At that point, you can start getting their attention in subtle ways; for example, you can start retweeting or sharing their content, or commenting regularly on their posts with insightful, helpful contributions.
3. Always give before taking. Influencers are busy people, and they aren’t charity workers. If you start your relationship by asking for a favor, they’re almost certainly going to turn you down. So instead of leading with a request, lead with some contribution of value. There’s a lot of wiggle room here, so use your imagination in combination with the knowledge you gathered earlier. What’s important to this influencer? What will get their attention? For example, this provision of value could be as simple as sharing one of their most recent pieces, or giving a strong counterpoint that boosts its visibility.
4. Stand out. There are billions of social media users and hundreds of thousands of people leveraging for this influencer’s time; what makes you special in this crowd of competitors? If you don’t stand out in any way, influencers aren’t going to pay attention to you. First, optimize your profile to stand out by showing off your specific niche and expertise, and work on creating and promoting unique content in your own right. Most influencers will do some background research before engaging with you. Then, when it comes time to address an influencer directly, make sure you come to them with a unique proposition. Don’t open with a line that a million people have probably already used; instead, draw upon your own personality, and offer something they’ve never seen before.
5. Respect their time. Next, you need to respect their time. Influencers are busy people, and they can’t afford to answer every request that comes to them. If you acknowledge this in your approach, you’ll be far more likely to earn their respect and win their admiration. Nothing will turn an influencer away from you faster than demanding their attention or disrespecting the value of their time.
6. Learn to take rejection. You probably aren’t going to be successful with the first influencer you work with. You’ll go through a few — maybe a dozen or more — before you get a response. Learn to handle rejection, and move onto the next candidate if your original target influencer doesn’t work out. In many ways, influencer marketing is a game of patience and consistency; maintain these critical tactics, and eventually, you’ll find an ideal partnership.
If you follow these six tips, you should start to see better results in your influencer marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean you’ll be successful with every influencer you approach, and it doesn’t guarantee a higher ROI, but these are the strategies to follow if you want to get a response from some of the top names in your industry.
If you find yourself struggling, consider boosting your reputation in other ways until you’re on similar plane of notoriety; it’s much easier to network with peers than with people who have significantly more clout.